Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

Move YOU, Not Them

Lots of parents rely on “time-outs” as a discipline technique.   I don’t mind time-outs, if they are applied the Adlerian way.  However, I want to offer up an alternate solution. You can add this one to your parenting toolbox for times when time-outs are not working:  MOVE YOU INSTEAD.

I don’t mean “Mommy is going to put herself in a time out to calm down before she acts badly.”  I am referring to impacting the dynamics by excusing yourself from being the audience of your child’s disturbances.  If you have a child who is a powerhouse, you’ll only make matters worse if you try to remove them from the dinner table for a time out when they start acting up.

Try this instead:  “I’d love to stay and have dinner with you, can you calm yourself or do I need to find another place to eat?”  If they continue on, simply say. “When things are calm I will join you again.”  Take your plate and calmly move yourself to eat in another room.

The idea is that you can’t MAKE them use table manners and be calm, but the benefit of using our society rules for meal-sharing is that people enjoy eating with you.  Because children are social creatures, they do want your company and will be intrinsically motivated to adopt our table customs because they benefit from your company.

Remember, when things are calm and you return to the table, it’s bygones! Don’t discuss their behavior; just get on with engaging positively.

Cooperative table behaviors – everyone stays together.  Disturbing table behaviors – mommy goes.   They’ll figure it out quickly, sans fights and lectures.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

Can’t Ignore the Sibling Fighting? Put Them in the Same Boat.


I recently posted a parenting tip for handling sibling fighting that recommended you walk away and refuse to get involved in the conflict. I know for some of you, the worry is that your children are either too physical or too young, and still need your involvement.

That’s completely fine. If ignoring is not going to be a viable tool for you, then let me offer up another method called: “Putting Them in the Same Boot.”

This tool ensures that both children involved in the conflict perceive that you are not siding with one over the other. This method makes sure there is no accidental favoritism that can erode the sibling relationship.  It honors the fact that in any conflict, both parties are able to influence the outcome.  Since fighting requires both children to keep the situation hostile and unresolved, both should experience the same discipline for their disruptive antics, regardless of who started it, who had it first, or who owns it.  None of that matters!  If fighting erupts and doesn’t resolve itself, and you feel you must step in, try one of these lines:

“Looks like you two are having trouble being together at the moment. You can both go to your rooms and cool down for 5 minutes.”

“I guess I will have to put away the riding truck until you two can figure out how to share it without fighting.  When you have a plan worked out, come get me and I’ll give it back.”

“If you can’t agree on how to take turns on the family computer without fighting, the computer will be turned off for this evening. You can both try again tomorrow.”

“I am having a hard time enjoying my dinner when you’re at each other like this.  I’m going to take my plate to the kitchen.  Call me when table is peaceful again and I’ll come back.”

With both children being put in the same boat, they are now interested in getting their brother or sister to be cooperative with them rather than sustaining the conflict. With this new method, they are invested in not upsetting the other.

Give it a try and let me know it goes for you.  If you’ve already had success with this method, share your stories! Nothing is more motivating than someone else’s success story.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

Should Spanking Children Still Be Legal In Canada?

photo credit: wikiHow

I would like to share a few of my own thoughts on the issue of spanking children.

1. Spanking equals hitting. Let’s stop using words that pretty up the act to hide reality.

2. Hitting is ineffective as a form of discipline.

There are two kinds of children – those who respond to being hit by correcting their behaviour, and those who don’t.

Responders – The child that responds to the hitting would have responded to other forms of correction. There are other effective forms of correction that aren’t at the expense of the child’s esteem and don’t hurt parent-child relationships.

Non-Responders – The child that does not respond to being hit in fact rebels against the physical transgression to prove that it doesn’t control them, thereby retaliating and often making the next transgression worse. They hold in tears of pain or laugh at the parent who in vein tries to “get through to them” by hitting progressively harder, only to produce a child that is motivated to retaliate yet again.

It’s a vicious, escalating cycle.

People spank children because they are bankrupt of ideas on what else to do, not because they think it is the best thing to do. People need to learn alternative methods of child guidance through parent education classes that teach adults to understand the motivations and discouragements within the misbehaving child. Parents need to get to the root of the problem, rather than resorting to reactive short-term “fixes” of punishment and discipline. Governments should fund parent education just as they fund pre-natal education.

Now my two cents on the Supreme Courts’ ruling. If you have not been following this case, here is a summary.

The Supreme Court has ruled that:

  • Parents can use appropriate and reasonable force and restraint for the purposes of correcting / teaching a child,
  • The parent must act in a cool and rational way, not angered,
  • The force must not be degrading or humiliating or harmful, and,
  • The child must be older than 2 years and younger than 12 years of age.

While this is now a more restrictive interpretation of the law than was previously in place, I would ask the Justices how the remaining elements add up to anything that will effectively change a child’s behaviour.

If the blow is weak so that it meets the law’s criteria for not degrading the child, how exactly will this measure influence behaviour?

If it is so weak as to not be degrading, why do they exclude children older than 12? The court reasoned that this type of correction would promote rebellion and antisocial behaviour. How could an adult acting reasonably and treating a child “reasonably” and not “degradingly” bring that about?

I feel that the ruling essentially speaks from both sides of its mouth. Hitting is punitive and the punitive is, by nature, degrading. It affects all humans the same way, regardless of age. We once believed that husbands could use “reasonable force” to control their wives too. And no doubt some people and some religions feel this is still the case, but our laws have progressed to recognize that this is not the case. We must now show that society must find alternatives to hitting children in a vain attempt to correct them. All humans are social equals and this should be reflected in the law – regardless of age.

I will close by acknowledging the dissenting opinion of Justice Binnie, whose comments I agree with:

“A child is guaranteed ‘equal protection and equal benefit of the law’ by s. 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 43 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, denies children the protection of the criminal law against the infliction of physical ‘force’ that would be a criminal assault if used against an adult. The sole reason for children being placed in this inferior position is that they are children.

“Notwithstanding these facts, my colleague, the Chief Justice, is of the view that the equality rights of the child are not infringed by s. 43 because ‘a reasonable person acting on behalf of a child . . . would not conclude that the child’s dignity has been offended in the manner contemplated by s. 15(1)’ (para. 68). With all due respect to the majority of my colleagues, there can be few things that more effectively designate children as second-class citizens than stripping them of the ordinary protection of the assault provisions of the Criminal Code. Such stripping of protection is destructive of dignity from any perspective, including that of a child. Protection of physical integrity against the use of unlawful force is a fundamental value that is applicable to all. The ‘dignity’ requirement, which gathered full force in this Court’s judgment in Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 497, provides a useful and important insight into the purpose of s. 15(1), but it should not become an unpredictable side-wind powerful enough to single-handedly blow away the protection that the Criminal Code would otherwise provide.”

You can review the full ruling if you’d like details on the court’s decision.

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

 

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